The Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel chains will all join AccorHotel’s Le Club loyalty program in July, allowing Le Club members to earn and redeem points on stays, and elite cardholders to enjoy perks such as room upgrades, hotel lounge access and more.
Covering some of the world’s most iconic hotels including Raffles Singapore – birthplace of the popular Singapore Sling cocktail – plus The Plaza in New York and The Savoy in London, here’s what Accor’s big merger means for regular guests at these chains, and for existing Le Club members too.
Earning Le Club points at Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel
Once these hotels join the Le Club program on July 2nd, entry-level Le Club Classic members will start earning 25 points per €10 (A$15.85) spent in-house on both room rates and eligible incidentals charged to their hotel bill, such as for dining expenses.
That’s the same earning rate as at Accor’s existing luxury brands like Sofitel, with Silver members pocketing a higher 31 points on that same spend, Gold members grabbing 37 points, and Platinum cardholders scoring 44 points.
All members, regardless of tier status, will also earn 25 ‘status points’ per €10 spent. Just like airline status credits, status points can’t be spent on free travel: instead, they help the member climb through the program’s Silver, Gold and Platinum ranks.
Fairmont President’s Club, Raffles Ambassador, Swissôtel Circle programs axed
As Le Club will become the house loyalty program across all Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel properties, the existing Fairmont President’s Club, Raffles Ambassador and Swissôtel Circle schemes will be discontinued on July 1 2018, in preparation of Le Club taking over on July 2.
But it’s not necessarily bad news for existing Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel elites, who will all receive a comparable level of status in the Le Club program, unlocking benefits across Accor’s entire portfolio of hotels including these same chains.
Members who have achieved separate status in both Accor’s program and in another hotel loyalty program may also be boosted to an even higher tier, in recognition of their total travel history.
It’s a little complex, but here’s how that pans out for members of each program when everything merges on July 2.
Fairmont President’s Club
Have a President’s Club Premier card? You’ll be given Le Club Silver status in Accor’s loyalty program – but if you already have elite status with Accor, you’ll instead be bumped to the next-best Le Club tier.
For example, if you’re already a Le Club Silver member, your Club Premier card will give you Le Club Gold on July 2. Similarly, if you’re already a Le Club Gold member, having a Club Premier card will make you Le Club Platinum from the same date.
Top-tier Fairmont President’s Club Platinum members will instead receive Le Club Platinum status – the highest level in Accor’s program – whether they hold any existing Le Club status or not.
This Le Club status will remain valid until the end of December 2019. That's also true for existing Le Club Platinum cardholders who don't benefit from a higher status through this partnership as they're already at the top of the pile: so instead, their status will be extended by one year.
Just like a Fairmont President’s Club Platinum card, a top-level Swissôtel Circle Zenit membership is your ticket to Le Club Platinum status on July 2nd, regardless of whether you’re an entry-level Accor Classic member or have previously achieved Accor status under your own steam.
Mid-tier Swissôtel Circle Eleva members will instead be given gratis Le Club Gold status: but if the member already holds a Le Club Silver or Gold card as of July 2 2018, they’ll instead shoot straight to the top at Le Club Platinum.
Le Club status gained via this path will be valid either until end December 2019 or end December 2020, depending on the member’s existing Swissôtel status validity and qualification progress.
Existing Le Club Platinum members who are also Swissôtel elites can't be boosted to a higher tier as they're already at the top, but will have their Platinum status extended to end 2019 or 2020 courtesy of Swissôtel.
Currently offered only by invitation, the Raffles Ambassador program will be discontinued on July 2 and all Raffles Ambassador members will receive Platinum status in the Le Club program, which will remain valid until December 31 2019.
Because the Le Club scheme doesn’t have its own invitation-only level, Accor notes that “the exclusive benefits you currently enjoy at Raffles hotels will remain unchanged”, such as access to Raffles’ Master Concierge service even when you’re not staying at a Raffles hotel.
Frequent travellers may get an even higher status
Come July 2, all the ‘nights’ you’ve accrued this calendar year across the Fairmont President’s Club, Raffles Ambassador, Swissôtel Circle and Le Club programs will be combined into your Le Club account, which may qualify you for a higher status than offered via the processes above.
For instance, Le Club Silver status is normally earned after 10 nights, Le Club Gold comes after staying for 30 nights, and Le Club Platinum is provided after 60 nights.
Let’s say through the merger process above that you’re entitled to Le Club Gold status from July 2, but that the total number of ‘nights’ you’ve accrued across your combined memberships since January 1 this year is 60 or more.
Instead of getting Le Club Gold status, you’d be boosted to Le Club Platinum instead – so even though these other loyalty programs are winding down in a couple of months, be sure to continue linking those memberships to all your bookings in the meantime, so that all your ‘nights’ are recognised by Accor come July.
Le Club benefits extended to Fairmont, Raffles, Swissôtel
From July 2nd, Le Club members new and old can start enjoying the benefits of their status at Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel properties worldwide.
For entry-level Le Club Classic members, that starts with free in-room WiFi when you book direct through Accor or the hotel itself, with Silver members gaining priority check-in, a welcome drink, and late check-out on request.
At Gold, those perks are boosted with early check-in on request, a welcome amenity, room upgrades subject to availability and a guaranteed room at sold-out hotels (subject to T&Cs), while Platinum members enjoy access to hotel executive lounges too, where available, when staying in any room type.
That’s a win for existing Le Club members who’ll now get benefits at a wider range of hotels, but also for members of the other loyalty programs which are winding down, because they’ll be recognised as a frequent traveller not just at their ‘home’ hotel chain, but more broadly at hotels like Sofitel and Novotel.
Transition extras for Fairmont President’s Club, Swissôtel Circle members
To help ease the transition process towards Le Club from the Fairmont President’s Club and Swissôtel Circle schemes, members of these programs are eligible for a couple of perks not afforded to ‘regular’ Le Club members.
Fairmont shares that its popular Fairmont Fit program – currently an exclusive perk for Fairmont President’s Club members where the hotel stocks your room with fitness gear in the correct size prior to your stay – will continue for President’s Club members after their transition to Le Club AccorHotels.
For Swissôtel Circle members who stay twice at Swissôtel properties between January 1 and July 1 2018, a small reward of 1,000 bonus Le Club points (worth €20: A$31.65) will be provided once your transition to Le Club is complete.
What’s happening with Fairmont upgrade e-certificates?
While the Le Club program offers Gold and Platinum members unlimited room upgrades subject to availability, the Fairmont President’s Club scheme currently provides Premier members with only one room upgrade per year, and Platinum members with two.
Awarded via ‘e-certificates’ which can each be exchanged for that confirmed upgrade for a stay of five nights or less, any existing e-certificates will continue to remain valid at Fairmont hotels until their expiry date, being as late as February 28 2019 for e-certificates issued to members in March 2018.
This means a member brought over to Le Club as a Gold or Platinum cardholder can benefit from space-available room upgrades at check-in across the Accor portfolio, including at Fairmont hotels, but if they’re especially keen to lock-in a confirmed upgrade in advance at a Fairmont hotel, they can still use any e-certificates they’ve earned to achieve that.
What about existing Swissôtel Advantage, Premier and Zenit Awards?
As Swissôtel Circle rewards members with benefits and experiences – as opposed to benefits and points, as with Le Club – members who have earned Swissôtel Advantage, Premier and Zenit Awards will notice a few changes.
All Swissôtel Advantage Awards – which provide a complimentary room upgrade for two nights, or two complimentary breakfasts – will remain valid at Swissôtel properties until their current expiry date, even if that’s after the July 2 switcheroo.
However, all outstanding Premier and Zenit Awards which remain unused on July 2 will be cancelled and converted into Le Club points.
Each Premier Award in a member’s account on that date – which each provide one complimentary room night under the current system – will be converted into 10,000 Le Club points, which have a worth of €200 (A$316.50) towards a future hotel stay at any chain participating in the Le Club scheme, whether that’s Swissôtel or elsewhere.
Every outstanding Zenit Award – valid for two room nights over a weekend in a Swissôtel suite – will instead be converted into 40,000 Le Club points, worth €800 (A$1,266) when used in the same way.
Savvy travellers might keep an eye on room rate prices in the lead-up to July 2 to decide whether they’re better off using a Premier or Zenit Award before July, or waiting for the award to be converted into points for more flexibility: or to take advantage of a more competitive room rate.